Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, July 29, 2005


It was a pop. Not like a champagne bottle corking off, there was no fanfare or fizzle. It was not like a firecracker either, not explosive. More like squeezing a packing bubble sort of pop. There was not even a sound, just a feeling. It felt like a pop sounds. And then it hurt. Something in my leg popped and then I was dropping my heavy load and cursing in pain.

"Christ-o-fucking-damnit that hurts!"

Somehow I got my load stabilized on the ground and then proceeded to hop around on my other leg. "Whoa fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What the fuck?" It was a muscle down in my right calf that had disagreed with the heavy load and was letting me know its displeasure.

I put the foot down and put some test weight on it. It buckled under and shot more pain at me. I gave my calf a little massage and with a few more cautious tests I found the pain points. Just how far I could stretch or how much weight it would take before it hurt. Basically I could walk on my heel, but putting weight on the ball of my foot was off limits.

"Awww fuck, I need that leg."

I thought back to whatever sports medicine I had learned over the years. It was definitely the muscle that hurt, not the bone. There was no noticeable swelling or discoloration. Most likely a pulled muscle; perhaps a strain of some sort. But whoa did that hurt. I hobbled around a little more and tried to flex. The muscle did not agree with that either. There were still three more of the 75 pound buckets to pull out of the van. I somehow managed that taking only tiny baby steps and limping on my heel. What was worse was my plan for hiking tomorrow. A pain this bad couldn't possibly heal in a day.

Working the gas pedal of the van was thankfully painless. My day was not completely shot. I just had to spend the day sitting in the office, pick up the empty buckets in the evening and all would be well. I was toying with the idea of a day off due to injury. Without going on location there were many things I could get done with a free day. Look up stuff on the internet, actually return phone calls, clean the house and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

In the afternoon when I tried hobbling across the parking lot to the mail box I still had to take little limping baby steps. The pain was less than the morning, but the thought of hiking six miles sounded impossible. I put together a plan. The first part of the plan involved Ben Gay. I wasn't sure if hot pads or cold pads were the right treatment for a pulled muscle so I decided on rest. A dose of Ben Gay before bed, a good nights sleep, some stretching in the morning. If I felt like I was close to a normal walk I would buy a walking stick and try the trail. I even set a turn back point. If I was hurting by Crystal Ford I would give up and turn around.

I gotta say, that Ben Gay is some sweet stuff. I was feeling some stiffness the next morning. It hurt if I pushed too far or too fast, but I could walk. I dosed up with Ben again and went ahead with the boots. On my way out I stopped at the sporting goods store for a hiking pole.

The first couple miles were the worst. I leaned on the pole a lot, and on the steep parts I found myself using it to power up the hills better. The more I worked the leg and the more the muscle warmed up the better I felt. I blazed past the point of no return and finished off the hike in reasonable time. The pain was gone. A nasty painful muscle pull had healed up for me in only a day.

I still have a bad feeling about the episode. This is the first time in my life I have ever used a walking stick. I felt like those pansies I meet on the trail that use poles and bear bells and try to look cool, but I can tell from their gear and their midriff that they are not true hikers. All the same, I am keeping the pole. It did actually help with the burden of the steeper parts of the trail. Not saying I will use it again soon, just saying it helped.

This is also the first time in my life I have ever purchased Ben Gay. An old friend used to say, "you know when you go from kid to adult when you buy your first toilet brush." I can't help but think you go from adult to old when you buy your first tube of Ben Gay. I'm not old yet damnit. I'm only in my (late) thirties. I'm still in my prime. I work a job that has me lifting heavy objects and hoofing miles at a time and I handle it gracefully. I can still flirt with twenty something waitresses without getting the sympathy flirt in return. I can still party and listen to obnoxious music. And I have purchased my first tube of Ben Gay and my first walking stick.

I'm not old yet, but Ben Gay and a walking stick? I think I may be closer to old than I am to young.

nah, you're not old yet. Definitely had me fooled into thinking you were still a youngin'
This is one more thing making you a true Montanan! Here we put people in a CAM boot and give them crutches for 6 weeks with that same injury and they whine like a baby. You? You hike six miles...with or without a stick, you da man!
Well, I use hiking poles simply because it's either that or give up the ghost on hiking completely due to the 5 screws that I sport in my knees. Hrm. Does that make me a pansy?
Good job on sucking it up, and considering what you accomplished I would say you are still on the young side.

Hope you don't have any more trouble with it.
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